South Africa’s telecommunications company, MTN Group, is using GE’s Jenbacher gas engine technology in what has been called the first trigeneration plant in South Africa. Similarly, ABSA Bank’s Tower West complex has installed a GE natural gas-powered cogeneration plant, thought to be the first project of its kind in the country's financial sector.
Rising power costs and frequent power outages are causing several South African companies to look to GE to supply them with alternative energy solutions, says the company.
GE’s Jenbacher gas engines for the MTN and ABSA Bank projects were sold to Diesel Electric Services (DES) that, in turn, installed the gas engines for the two South African projects.
MTN’s trigeneration plant features two of GE’s Jenbacher J320 gas-powered generating sets, with an electrical output of 1063 kW and a thermal output of about 1.2 MW each.
The trigeneration supplies electricity, heating and, using lithium bromide absorption chillers, chilled water for the air-handling units. The plant operates with an overall efficiency of up to 85%.
ABSA’s cogeneration plant is powered by four of GE’s Jenbacher J620 natural gas-powered generating sets, with an overall electrical output of about 12 MW and thermal output of about 5.5 MW.
The Jenbacher units produce less than half of the carbon dioxide per kWh than the coal-fired power stations predominately supplying South Africa with electricity.
The gas power generation and heat recovery station is designed to operate in parallel with the city power grid to reduce the demand of the ABSA Towers Complex during peak periods, as well as to provide standby power during power outages.